Monday, November 1, 2010

Round Two of the Great Query Contest

Here's how this works.  Read the queries below, and then scroll down and vote for the book you'd MOST LIKE TO READ. Voting will continue until Midnight Sunday, November 7th.  I'll announce the winner of the partial critique on Monday, November 8th. 

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#1: THE FACE OF A LION

Dear [Mr./Ms. Agent],

When thirteen-year-old Austin's parents drag him along to a villa in
Turkey they've rented for the summer, he hunkers down and counts the
days until he can get back home to his friends in England. But that's
before he rescues a talking cat, witnesses a bloody ritual that causes
two people to disappear, and finds himself whisked back in time.

Nearly two thousand years in the past, he makes a new friend--and a
new enemy. A powerful evil wants to prevent Claudius the Emperor's
invasion of Britain. Austin has to act fast to ensure that the
invasion does take place--or time and civilization as he knows it will
never be the same.

THE FACE OF A LION explores the ideas of friendship and loyalty, time
travel, and the far-reaching consequences of good or bad decisions.
This young adult historical fantasy is complete at 90,000 words.

I have previously lived and worked in both Istanbul and Kusadasi,
Turkey. My non-fiction work, including both travel articles and book
reviews, has most recently appeared in the trilingual (English,
French, and Turkish) newspaper Bizim Anadolu. THE FACE OF A LION
recently won, by unanimous decision, the Fifteen Minutes of Fame
contest hosted by Novel Journey, one of Writer's Digest's 101 most
valuable websites for writers.

Sincerely,

Deniz XYZ

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#2: SOUL STALKER
(note: there is another book with a similar title in this contest. 
Make sure you check the name and number for the poll)

Dear Ms. Agent,

In 1925, Liz Grayson succumbed to poisoning. In 1955, she burned to death. Today, she fears for her life.

Liz and her boyfriend, Chris Edwards, are ready to make their senior year at Jackson High a memorable one. But when perfect-in-every-way Mina Manson moves to town, she sets her sights on Chris and warns Liz to stay out of her way. Liz discovers the three of them are trapped in a recurring love triangle that spans lifetimes where Mina gets Chris—and Liz ends up dead.

Mina isn't her only problem. Chris doesn't believe in past lives and thinks Liz is just jealous of Mina. Every step Liz takes toward uncovering the truth pushes Chris one step further away. Liz must find a way to prove the truth to Chris and expose Mina before history repeats itself and Liz loses everything. Again.

SOUL STALKER is a 67,000 word young adult paranormal romance. This novel is a standalone with series potential.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Kimberly XYZ


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#3: EMBER

Dear Mr. Agentoftheyear,

Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back from the dead. Now anything Ember touches dies, and that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Daemon Cromwell breaks into her house, claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s crazy. But when he tells her he can help her control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Daemon’s adopted father, a man she is sure has skeevy reasons for collecting gifted children like action figures.

Learning to control her fingers-of-death holds a powerful allure. Ember is willing to do anything to be able to hold her sister's hand again. And heck, she'd also like to be able to kiss Daemon. But when Ember learns the accident that made her a freak wasn’t an accident, she’s not sure who to trust.

Someone wanted Ember dead, and they still do. The closer Ember gets to the truth, the closer she gets to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.

Ember is a YA Paranormal Romance complete at 82,000. I thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer ABC

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#4: WINDS OF CHANGE

Dear Ms. Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Avikar always dreamed of being an adventurer, but after his brother’s accidental death, he stays home and accepts life as a stable boy. When his sister Jeslyn is kidnapped, the fear of losing another sibling sends him on a journey to rescue her. After failing to save his brother two years ago, he just can’t fail again. To find her, though, he must take on an unlikely ally--the man who kidnapped her.

His search for Jeslyn leads him to Eden--a secret paradise ruled by a young, half-human tyrant named Lucino. Lucino has a hobby of collecting pretty girls, and has sent his men to take many from their homes. However, his desire to have the prettiest bride makes Jeslyn the only girl worthy.

In order to reach Jeslyn, Avikar will have to face an ancient guardian snake, seductive dark haired beauties, and a battle in which he is hopelessly outnumbered. He will have to overcome his fear of inadequacy and believe in himself, or he’ll never see his sister again.

WINDS OF CHANGE is a complete, 65,000 word YA fantasy novel with series potential

I don’t have any fancy credentials, unless not dying in the first few chapters of a Choose Your own Adventure book counts.

Sincerely,

Eliza ABC

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#5: SEEDS OF EDEN

Dear Agent,

The last place Evvy expected to find love is in the arms of the fairy prince...which probably means she shouldn’t have rejected his marriage proposal.

In fairy tradition, the worth of a fairy girl is determined by the beauty of her flower and the number of human shoes a groom is willing to pay for her hand in marriage. With a blossomless flower, Evvy can hardly be considered worth a shoelace, let alone the shoe it came from. So when Evvy is kidnapped by the Weeds but isn’t ransomed, she is certain she will never find a respectable husband, and the only thing she wants in life, is to be worth a pair of Converse High Tops.

As a prisoner of the Weeds, Evvy begins to feel acceptance, and a possible romantic attraction to her abductor—a man who treats her decently enough despite the occasional threat to feed her to his falcon. But when the fairy prince to shows up a season later to rescue her and declare her his intended bride, she doubts her place in either world.

On the journey to find her own salvation, Evvy must figure out which world she fits in before her chance to reconcile with either man passes and true love is lost to her forever.

SEEDS OF EDEN is a 75,000 word young adult fantasy novel that can either be a stand-alone story or the first book of a series.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

My Name

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#6: SOUL SIFTER 
(note: there is another book with a similar title in this contest. 
Make sure you check the name and number for the poll)

Dear Ms./Mr. Agent,

Sixteen-year-old London Howell doesn't know what to do when a strange
girl appears and claims he "created" her. He can't ask his dad, who
doesn't even recognize him most days, and his uncle is an indifferent
guardian.

His plan to dump her off with the police gets derailed when he learns
he's drawn the attention of the House of Dering, the family that rules
over the city's mages. The measure of a mage's power lies in his
soul--power which can be ripped free and exploited--and they think
London's got one hell of a repository. They want him to find a Sieve
to siphon his magic, but seeing as the family's got enough secrets to
fill the Thames, London's pretty sure their intentions are less than
benevolent--especially once his dad goes missing.

With demons whispering in his ears, nightwalkers dropping him into
shadows and the House of Dering offering answers to questions he never
knew he had about himself and his family, London has no idea whom to
trust. While he will make or break whatever alliances necessary to
find his dad, what happens if it's at the price of a human soul?

SOUL SIFTER is a YA urban fantasy complete at 86,000 words. This is my
first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Mai LMN

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#7:  REAPER

Dear Ms. Kaynak,

Quincy Amarante’s only goal in life is to be the “It” girl of Rancho Valley High and she’s determined not to let a little thing like the afterlife get in the way. Unfortunately, Destiny has other plans when he ruins her sixteenth birthday with the news that she’ll become the fifth grim reaper.

Forced to learn the family business from a crabby dead relative, Quincy struggles to keep her status even while her priorities shift from who she wants to be to who she really is. After falling for the hot new guy at school, Quincy discovers that her romantic ideals are just another illusion to overcome. With her world unraveling one carefully placed thread at a time, she loses her best friend, falls in love with the last person she expected, and must make a decision that could cost her the most precious thing in the world: her life.

REAPER is complete at 66,000 words and is for young adults who enjoy a little bit of the paranormal with their romance. I would be happy to send you the manuscript and synopsis at your convenience.

My fiction appeared in “Orion’s Child” and “Adventures of the Average Woman”. I’m an active member in my local chapter of SCBWI.

Thank you in advance for your valuable time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Linda STU

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#8: HIDDEN IN SHADOWS

Dear Ms. Agent:

Traumatized by witnessing her father’s brutal murder, Lorna masters
her feelings of powerlessness by becoming an assassin.

Lorna discovers she can create and hide in shadows. While this gives
her a distinct advantage over her targets, her father’s killer remains
elusive. With no leads, Lorna accepts an assignment to kill an island
king with a high price on his head. King Alaric is everything Lorna
isn't--noble, kind, and good. When she falls for him, Lorna distances
herself from her assassin lifestyle but cannot escape her past. A mass
gravesite on the island provides clues to her father's murder and why
people want Alaric dead.

Lorna grows closer to finding her father’s murderer, but enacting her
revenge would destroy any chance she has of being with Alaric--leaving
Lorna torn between murder and love.

HIDDEN IN SHADOWS is a complete 97,000-word paranormal romance
standalone novel with series potential.

I am the author of a fantasy romance series, The Kingdom of Arnhem –
Woman of Honor (2009) and Knight of Glory (2010) published with Desert
Breeze Publishing. I have also sold nine short stories for
anthologies, including Mertales by Wyvern Publications, and many
collections from Pill Hill Press. I have a blog with over 220
followers.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

XXX XXXX

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#9: ALEXIA'S PEN

Dear Ms. Agent:

When fifteen-year-old aspiring novelist Alexia writes with a magic
pen, everything she writes comes true.

With the pen, Alexia discovers a portal to the mystical Land of
Imagining and learns she is an All-Knower. The rest of the peaceful,
magical All-Knowers are in terrible danger. The Head Demon seeks to
enslave and kill them, determined to rule the Land of Imagining.
Alexia's hidden power with the magic pen makes her the Chosen One--the
only person who can protect the All-Knowers from the demon--but she
has no idea how to actually use it.

After the Head Demon steals the pen and kidnaps her family, Alexia
must locate the demon's secret lair and secure her pen before the Land
of Imagining becomes the Land of Terror.

ALEXIA'S PEN is a 78,000-word fantasy YA standalone novel with series potential.

I am the author of a fantasy romance series, The Kingdom of Arnhem --
Woman of Honor (2009) and Knight of Glory (2010) published with Desert
Breeze Publishing. I have also sold nine short stories for
anthologies, including Mertales by Wyvern Publications, and many
collections by Pill Hill Press. I have a blog with over 220 followers.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

XXX XXXX

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#10: DUALITY
(note: this is a changed title from Round 1)


Dear Ms. Agent:

Subject 31 wants her life back; if only she could remember it.

The Humani Project’s latest experiment believes she's human, but her sleek black fur, claws, and tail make that seem...impossible. Her only clue to an existence before she had panther DNA spliced to hers is a fragment of a memory and a name--Janelle.

Imprisoned in a Phoenix, Arizona lab where failure equals termination, 31 must balance her warring human logic and animal instinct to survive. But she doesn’t know the first thing about taming a wild animal--especially when it’s a part of her.

After Lorenzo Fernandez, the lead scientist, breaks protocol to save her life and calls her by name, the woman she was rises up in a determined hunt for the truth. Why does the one person she should hate above all others love her? Why does she feel the same? As time runs out, her only hope is to harness the animal within to protect herself and the man she loves.

Good thing cats have nine lives—she’ll need every one of them to uncover the truth.

DUALITY is a science fiction novel complete at 114000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Lexcade DEF

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#11: THE BLOOD OF A STONE

Dear Ms. Agent,

Didymus of Tiberias is a successful caravan driver in Galilee who has created a new life and new identity for himself until his closest friend, Nathaniel, exposes his criminal past.

Didymus wants to forget his father sold him into slavery for the price of a broken donkey and a few coins. He wants to erase his memories of murdering his abusive master to escape to freedom. But when his fellow former slave and co-conspirator, Nathaniel, acknowledges he's confessed their crimes to a man named Jesus of Nazareth, Didymus fears he will lose everything he has so carefully crafted. If Jesus turns him in to the Roman authorities, he faces arrest and crucifixion. He will do anything--even kill again--to prevent that gruesome fate.

Using his caravan as a cover, Didymus pursues Nathaniel and Jesus from Capernaum to Jerusalem. But he never expects to fall in love with Tabitha, a former leper who has been healed by Jesus. He knows her first loyalty is to Jesus. He longs to make her his wife, but he doesn't know if he can trust her with his secrets. If she betrays him as well, it could cost him his life.

Complete at 95,000 words, THE BLOOD OF A STONE (historical fiction) was long-listed for the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project.

I hold an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and am the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. My short story, "First Flight," was a literary fiction finalist in the Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Other short pieces have been published in print and online.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

XXX XXXX

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Vote for the book you'd most like to read:

8 comments:

kimysworld said...

Not as many queries here as the first round! How do you think they compare to the originals submitted? Good luck to everyone!

kimysworld said...

Hi Bear, is there a limit to the number of times we can vote?

Cindy said...

This was so hard! Most of them seem pretty unique so I wouldn't mind reading a good deal of them. Great job guys!

Disgruntled Bear said...

Personally, I think we had very strong fields in both rounds, kimysworld. We had 27 unique queries in the first, and 11 here.

I think the polling software registers who's voted, so people can't vote more than once. I actually tried it out on the Halloween poll, just to see what would happen.

Cindy -- I know, right? So many of these books sound AMAZING. I'm psyched I'll get a chance to read the winner's partial.

kimysworld said...

PS - In my above question, I meant voting for more than one query, not voting a bunch of times for the same one! Thanks again!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks again for hosting this! It's been great fun :-)

Disgruntled Bear said...

My pleasure, Deniz! Thanks for taking part!

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